Anton Van Leeuwenhoek conducted the first microbiological observance in the fifteenth century with such an utterly eccentric sense of curiosity, which it led to a field of study that would change the world forever. I interpret the sudden change of subject from the first to second paragraph as a simile that the new topic of ‘jen science’ will, too, alter the world in a way that will disable our ability to ever overlook this new realm of science.
Jen science seems to be a mix of a concept outlined by Confucius and, in a more contemporary light, a field of research gaining momentum as its empowering fundamentals seem to gain more credence through empirical studies. The concept itself is empowering and uplifting; its ability to enable people to mathematically equate all emotional human activity and give it a rating is, to me, very exciting. In an oversimplified nutshell, my understanding is that you can simply divide all queues for happiness by those contrary to it, however stark or subtle these factors may be.
Initial explanation of the concept goes on to explain that the finished ratio is a rather essential underlying indicator of the measuring human emotional well-being. The passages relating to the tendencies of humankind to dwell stronger toward negative aspects of life is very bleak and, to me, holds incredible integrity. There is a subliminal tone throughout the chapter that humankind really can be what the title implies: kind. The content consistently punches on the habitual lives we live as being purely serving self-interest.
However I perceive that this is antagonistically challenged by what I assume the central theme of this literature will be: we have something more to us than just serving our seemingly genetic propensity of self-interest. This something may perhaps befuddle the accepted understandings of our evolutionary nature. I feel the book alluding to the possibility of enlightened humankind rejecting an obligatory adaptation into homo economicus, and put forth a truly altruistic, loving prototype for which a higher Jen ratio and a more fulfilled, and enriched existence.
I want to insert an excerpt from the chapter and attempt to understand its implications. The very emphasis of the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” makes it certain that we are descended from an endlessly long chain of generations of murderers, whose love of murder was in their blood as it is perhaps also in ours. -Sigmund Freud For such an authority to exclaim such words has profound implications. Firstly Freud was a known atheist, and avidly so, therefore I believe he was employing sense of sarcasm that immediately relinquishes the potency of this quote.
Also, not to object to Sigmund Freud, but to assume that a commandment makes certain our descent from murderers is simply untrue. Freud would have known this, he was a pretty switched on bloke, which is why I think this quote is taken out of context or perhaps he said it jokingly. Although it is an instruction to all peoples, it does not imply that all before the commandment have done so. Freud had a glum look on humanity, from my perspective he would not be an advocate of Jen science and is a good candidate to provoke a sense of imbalance in the contemporary culture toward us all focusing on the negative.
The data is presented in such a way as to highlight correlations that support this Jen science. The graphs take into account one country’s level of trust in fellow citizens who are unknown to them, and link it to the economic growth that the country has seen over a certain period. Although I’m sure the economic policy of a country as well as a couple contributing factors might have a slightly more prominent role in the performance of a country’s economy, it’s GDP per capita, and overall living standards, the selected graphs illustrate an interesting mindset.
Upon understanding such mindset the author then elaborates how such an effect could realistically affect the dealings of the economy. Even more so, the text continues on to articulate that such a thing as important as the Jen ratio, if properly understood, is going to branch into countless contexts of life, with finances being no exception. My take on this point is one of accommodation; it seems that such an equation as the precise level of happiness in any setting will have profound consequences to ones tendencies, and needless to say people have money in their hands and on their minds all too often.
The Scandinavian countries seem to score well in all of the living standard and jen ratio indicators. I believe this is because their essence of structure seems to be unequivocally based toward equality and welfare in comparison to other Western countries. Their social democracy taxes the wealthy heavily and gives all sorts of benefits to the public in such a way that such a system can. This is purely my interpretation, but I have observed many studies supporting the first chapter’s thesis that there are many social advantages of having a less embellished distribution of wealth.
Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway are all of a high rank in the graphs of the chapter relating to ‘child well-being’ and ‘trust in fellow citizens. ’ The interesting thing to me is that all of these countries are huge welfare states, among the biggest in the world. What does this have to do with the Jen Science? Perhaps this is a stretch, but it could be the socio-political environment has implications which lead to trusting citizens and healthy children.
Entertain this thought: the fact that each civilian of these countries pay such high tax rates allow revenue capable of improving the living standards for those who do have a great economic situation. This seems forcibly altruistic, which is in essence not altruistic at all, right? But perhaps the fabric of giving is so embedded in the financial aspect of these people that the nature of welfare and giving has led to more trusting, and healthy children. Perhaps it is geographical or some other correlation, but to me, the idea of healthy wealth distribution is in itself holistically medicinal for many issues in a country.
I touched on this thought earlier, but I think it bears repeating: the concept of the Jen Ratio and Jen science is profoundly simple, but I find it very such an abstract yet applicable tool. The first chapter brilliantly says that to accurately find out the Jen Ratio, you truly need to represent both the positive and the negative fairly. Do we as humans have a disposition to reside in the things that makes us unhappy? Is it a learned behavior? My understanding as from the book is that it is learned and can simply be unlearned, and appreciation for contrary information about the things in life we do truly enjoy.
The point that there are 6 expressions for negative emotions but only one for positive (a smile) is not a pure representation of things we enjoy but do without a smile. Playful teasing, intimate moments, expressions of gratitude, feelings of accomplishment that, along with other things, bring forth a feeling of pride and achievement that is not represented through a smile. When all of these things are tallied up, I think one can gain a good psychological head-space when realizing the numbers may not be as bad as feelings felt. In summary, I look forward to the reading of the rest of this book.
I think its affects and intentions are to be only positive and empowering to those who wish to understand and even apply Jen Science and Jen ratios to everyday life. I dislike my lack of knowledge and substance when arguing to philosophical friends that man is created good and conditioned bad, truth is, I have very little leverage to prove my point, it comes from an inherent inclination to try and assume good in people. I believe any science proving the existence of altruism and good in humans will always be work of great value.